NASCAR Cup Series

Richard Childress supporting Ukraine with ammunition supply

3 Mins read
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

With many motorsport authorities like the FIA implementing sanctions on Russia and ally Belarus for their invasion of Ukraine, NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner Richard Childress will aid Ukraine through more direct means. On Tuesday, AMMO, Inc. announced it will donate one million rounds of ammunition to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The company has also “formally offer[ed] to manufacture ammunition to donate to the Ukraine Armed Forces as they fight for their country’s continued independence.”

In a Wednesday interview with Fox & Friends, Childress explained AMMO, Inc. will be focusing on 7.62 mm caliber ammunition as it is Ukraine’s primary need. While the company is working with government agencies, the transport will be primarily through a private firm.

Childress is a noted gun rights advocate, having served as vice president of the National Rifle Association from 2017 to 2019, and was in line to assume the presidency before being passed over for Oliver North. He joined AMMO, Inc.’s board of directors in January.

Perhaps aligning with his views on the topic, firearms companies have sponsored his Richard Childress Racing cars. For example, arms manufacturer Daniel Defense sponsored the #3 Xfinity Series car in 2017 after Childress became acquainted with its CEO through the NRA. Bass Pro Shops, a longtime partner of the team and co-sponsor of the Bristol Night Race with the NRA, has long sold guns even following tragedies like school shootings and increased polarisation in the gun control debate.

AMMO, Inc. develops ammunition and runs online firearm marketplace GunBroker.com. GunBroker has sponsored cars across NASCAR’s three national series, and Jason White has run full seasons in the Camping World Truck Series under the GunBroker Racing banner. For the 2021 Xfinity Series race at Charlotte, AMMO, Inc. and GunBroker sponsored the #23 Xfinity machine of Our Motorsports driven by Childress’ grandson Ty Dillon.

“AMMO Inc., and we as Americans stand firmly in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence, as we stand for freedom and democracy everywhere,” company CEO Fred Wagenhals stated. “While we fervently hope for a quick and peaceful resolution to the crisis and that diplomacy will win the day, we condemn the Russian aggression and its threat to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and freedom. We recognize that events are unfolding rapidly on the ground in Ukraine, and we are prepared to move quickly as possible to support Ukraine as it continues to defend itself and its freedom.”

As the invasion progressed, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has lobbied for international support, which has mainly come through large-scale sanctions on Russia. More notably, he rejected offers from the United States to evacuate him from Ukraine as he insisted he needs “ammunition, not a ride.” On Tuesday night, American president Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address that the nation will restrict its airspace to Russian flights and donate “more than a billion dollars of direct assistance to Ukraine”. However, the United States and its NATO allies have been reluctant to deploy troops out of fear for growing the conflict, especially in the wake of Russian leader Vladimir Putin‘s threats to use nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, the U.S. has contributed some military involvement like sending anti-aircraft Stinger missiles to Ukraine.

“I was listening the other day and heard President Zelenskyy say he didn’t want out, he needed ammunition,” Childress told Fox & Friends. “I called my good friend Fred Wagenhals […] and I said, ‘Fred, we got to help these people. They need ammunition.’ And he stepped right up, he said, ‘We will do it.’ Now, we’re turning our production to this as our number one priority.

“It’s terrible to see the lives that are being lost over there. We have to do all we can and not fail that. With AMMO, Inc. and myself, we were doing the right thing and we are going to get that ammunition as quick as we can to them.”

Elsewhere in the racing world, the FIA announced Tuesday that Russian and Belarusian drivers may compete in sanctioned races but under neutral flags rather than their countries’, while many events in Russia like Formula One‘s Russian Grand Prix have been called off. Motorsport UK went further by banning Russian-licenced drivers from racing in Britain entirely.

RCR currently fields two Cup Series cars for Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick, as well as a two-man Xfinity stable of Sheldon Creed and Austin Hill.

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Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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